Earnings season is winding down. Scores of traders and money managers will probably be taking vacations over the next few weeks. There is not another jobs report for another month. In other words, the next few weeks could be a slow period of U.S. stocks, as is often the case in August. “Range-bound” could be a phrase investors hear quite a bit over the next few weeks, but that could open some opportunities with various dividend ETFs.
“Nevertheless, speculation of the timing of the central bank’s exit plan may keep stocks range-bound in the months ahead. Moreover, range-bound Treasury bonds should also keep a lid on stock gains. That leaves open the probability that yield-seeking pursuits may dominate the landscape once more,” writes Gary Gordon for The Street.com.
Dividend and high-yield ETFs were dinged by May speculation that tapering of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program was imminent. Many of those funds have since recovered much of their May/June swoons and statistics indicate dividend ETFs remain popular with investors. ETFs that employ a dividend weighting methodology saw a 35% rise in inflows year-over-year in the second quarter, according to Charles Schwab.
Since bottoming on June 24, the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: SDY) has climbed 9.2% while the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (NYSEArca: VIG), the largest dividend ETF by assets, is up 8%. The Fed played a significant part in helping dividend ETFs rebound by assuring investors in June that tapering was not right around the corner.
A more sanguine environment regarding tapering fears is beneficial so some dividend ETFs because of those funds’ allocations to rate-sensitive sectors. Rising Treasury yields coincided with increased tapering chatter, pressuring ETFs such as SDY, which devotes over 14% of its combined weight rate-sensitive utilities and telecom stocks. [Why Dividend ETFs Can Still Work]
Investors may also want to give international dividend ETFs a look. “Non-US dividend companies still offer more enticing yields than fixed income and US dividend counterparts” and “international dividend stocks are likely to pay higher yields for the foreseeable future given that he expects rates to hover where they are in the near term,” according to iShares Managing Director Sue Thompson. [iShares Dividend Strategies for Rising Rates]